More Important Things

I had a big plan for a focused discussion on a current event for today’s post. It’s been tossing on the “fluff” setting in my brain for about a week, and today I was going to finally lay it all out in actual sentences. Truthfully, I was pretty excited about it.

Then I got caught up doing more important things.

I have extra help sessions from 3:30 until 5 or later in my classroom on Tuesday afternoons. Tuesdays work well because Sherm is at daycare and I don’t have to rush home to prevent IBR (inappropriate bladder release). Today, only one student showed up, and that student stayed until I finally had to excuse myself to go pick up my dog before the daycare people decided to keep him.

My student and I were supposed to work on deciphering Shakespeare. We had an appointment to go over the kinds of things that will show up on tomorrow’s test. I had a package of practice questions ready to rock.

Then we got caught up discussing more important things.

As teachers, we can get so tied up in the curriculum, in the number of days to go until the government exams and how much the class averages have moved since the last reporting day, that it’s easy to forget that we teach children. There are days when providing knowledge to a student is far less critical than providing compassion and support. As it turns out, the most pressing thing for the student I worked with today had nothing to do with a writer who’s been dead for centuries.

My student was worried about more important things. We sat and talked for over an hour about what was going on in life, and what was bringing my kid to tears on a daily basis. It was all I could do to keep handing over kleenexes without starting up myself. I waited until I was alone to cry for my student.

There are people who can’t believe I choose to teach junior and senior high. Folks meet me, standing armpit height to many and speaking in a voice highly suitable for a cartoon where all the characters are rodents, and are astounded that I choose to spend my days among teenagers. I love my kids. I sincerely care about their well-being, and their futures. On the days they succeed, I’m one of the ones hooting and waving my arms on the sidelines. I might be more embarrassing than their family members, really. When something happens to break their hearts or crush their spirits or run down their dreams, I am far more deeply affected than I can explain.

So, there is no intelligent essay regarding an issue I’ve been wanting to discuss here at Blue Speckled Pup for quite a while. I’m gutted tonight by my empathy for a young person who trusted me enough to talk, and as much as I’m devoted to this blog and to working on my writing career, some days there are simply more important things.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I love to hear that there are still teachers like you! (I try to be that kind of teacher, too.) I’m sure your student appreciated having someone to talk to.

  2. It really did seem to make a difference to just spill all the things that needed to come out. I’m so glad to know there are other teachers out there who want to help however they can, although I was pretty sure you were one even before you told me.

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